It was only a matter of time before I reached back too far in time and found a loser. It happened over the weekend when I attempted (and had high hopes for) Old Fashioned Rice Pudding from the Metropolitan Insurance Company cookbook. There are a lot of you out there who don’t respond well to rice pudding, but I am among the pudding base (and you lovers of all things rich and creamy know who you are) who adores the milky, starchy, ricey-ness of it. It is comfort food at its best.
Here’s the recipe:
I’m even wondering if there’s a mistake. Notice the four cups of milk on the far left, just below the 1/4 cup of rice? I had bad vibes from the start about that ratio of liquid to solids, but after three hours of cooking at low temps who knew how the ingredients might behave? I was optimistic.
I stirred the pudding every 20 minutes during the first hour—just like I was told–and there was no discernible thickening going on. But it was early. By the end of the second hour, the lemon rind and vanilla coaxed a lovely sweet aroma from the pudding dish that floated throughout the house. By hour three, I could see things hadn’t progressed. There was a thin milky skin on top and when I plunged my wooden spoon beneath the surface, hoping to meet creamy resistance, I experienced only slightly thickened milk. The rice kernels were still a bit hard, too.
Even another hour inside my oven didn’t fix things. The rice was cooked, although still a tad al dente, and the milk was as thin as ever. But here’s the thing, it tasted sooooo goooood. The lemon rind was just enough to keep it from being too, too sweet. I ladled it into a teacup, and who wants sweet rice soup when you’re expecting a pudding? It was too sad to photograph. White rice soup in a white ceramic dish. A total white-out of failure.
I’m not giving up on this, especially since the soup/pudding was good enough for seconds. I’m going to add a cup of rice next time, up the oven temp to 300 degrees and let the chips fall where they may.